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  • » 06/11/2009, 00.00


    Child labour: An Indian boy tells his story to the ILO in Geneva

    A 14-year-old boy, Mohammad Manan Ansari, talks about how he escaped exploitation at a mica mine during an international conference held on the day dedicated to the fight against child labour.
    Mumbai (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Mohammad Manan Ansari (pictured) is 14 years old and comes from Samsahiriya, a village in the state of Jharkhand. He began working in a mica mine at the age of eight in the district of Koderma, one of the poorest in the state. Tomorrow he will tell his story at a gathering of the International Labour Organisation on the day dedicated to the fight against child labour.

    Manan’s story is like that of many other children in his village; like theirs but not the same as their because he is able to talk about it in the past thanks to the action of an Indian NGO, the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), which convinced his parents to take boy out of the mine and put him into a rehabilitation centre in Jaipur to study.

    “More than half the children of our village are engaged in mica mining and so are their parents. The youngest are 6-7 years old,” Manan said.

    Families in Samsahiriya on average have ten members who are employed in the ‘khadan’, the mine.

    Some of the ore can be found on the surface but a good deal has to be dug out of the bowels of the earth through tunnels. In the past some tunnels have collapsed killing miners.

    For Manan a working day would begin at 10 am and last until 6 pm.

    The day's haul would then be sold to agents, the price varying according to the quality. A kilo of ore could sell for as low as 4-8 rupees or as a high as 20 rupees (US$ 40 cents).

    His life was like this until four years ago when the BBA got him to Jaipur to study.

    Since then he has been on a mission to defend children’s rights. Whenever he visited his family, he tried to convince other families to let their children go to school instead of the mine. So far eight did.

    “I would tell them that if they didn't allow their kids to study, the next generation too will suffer,” he said. Even though “it took many attempts” in the end “they were convinced.”

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    See also

    06/04/2007 INDIA
    Sold as slaves, children are cheaper than animals
    Poverty and lack of education are some of the causes behind child trafficking in India. Children who are sold end up toiling on farms, as waiters or sex workers.

    09/09/2004 ASIA
    Child illiteracy and child labour are the continent's main social ills

    One fifth of India's GNP is generated by exploited minors working in farming sector.

    14/09/2007 CHINA
    Dying at 16 to pay for studies
    Many schools have little or no state aid and they exploit child labour convincing students to undertake summer “work placements” in unhealthy factories for longer hours and less pay than adults, with their salaries given over to the school to pay their fees. The story of one young girl who died from overwork and lack of care.

    14/09/2007 CHINA
    Beijing fails to pay schools and teachers
    For years now China dedicates less that 3% of the GDP to education, compared to the international average of 6&. In order to cover expenses many schools demand fees, particularly in rural areas. Those who cannot afford to pay, are destined to spend their summers been exploited in child labour.

    11/06/2008 INDIA
    Education and learning against child exploitation, says Lenin Raghuvanshi
    On World Day against Child Labour, the Indian activist calls for better schooling for everyone as the only solution to the problem. Some 55 million children live in slave-like conditions, especially among the lowest castes of society.

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